Conflict and Fragility

Policy briefs

Policing the police: Libya & the EU

01 Dec 2022 - 12:26
Source: Libyan police officials are seen during their march-past to celebrate the Police Day, commemorating the fifty-seventh anniversary of the Libyan Police Day, in Tripoli, Libya, October 9, 2021. © REUTERS
Policing the police: the EU's struggle to strengthen the security sector in Libya

More than ten years after the ousting of Gaddafi, the Libyan police under the Ministry of Interior are still struggling to effectively carry out their duties across the country. Drawing from 25 interviews conducted with experts, Libyan police officers, civil servants of the Ministry of Interior, and EU officers between June and August 20221, our research found four main obstacles facing the Libyan police force in Western Libya. These are:

  • i) the proliferation of armed groups;
  • ii) divisions within the ruling elite;
  • iii) administrative mismanagement in the security system;
  • and iv) the presence of alternative conflict-resolution mechanisms.

It also emerged that each area comes with its own challenges. Against that background, this policy brief calls for a change in EU policies. We suggest that EU member states align on specific and measurable goals and take a more adaptive and incremental approach. More specifically, the EU could consider identifying a set of measurable and achievable objectives and adapting its policies to the different contexts in which it operates, tailoring its priorities and timescales to different locations.

Download policy brief on the Libyan security sector.

Follow @philoteo & @nvanheukelingen on Twitter.